UPDATE: Me and Uber Pig are scrapping in the comments, so far I am dominating although he may have a different perspective.
There is a fair case to be made that police around the country have unnecessarily upgraded their weaponry and tactics. The need for armored vehicles and SWAT teams is far exceeded by the number of sleepy burgs taking advantage of Homeland Security grants and military programs to RoboCop themselves. The problem is that hostage rescue and dynamic building clearing are some of the most complicated things any tactical unit will ever do. I discussed the difficulty of this in an Op-Ed for the Washington Times.
A raid into enemy territory to capture a terrorist alive is one of the most complex undertakings we attempt short of space flight. You could call it an intricate martial ballet, but I liken it to conducting a Beethoven symphony with all the players and instruments in free fall, hurtling toward Earth like a phalanx of lawn darts. So many facets must occur in perfect harmony that adding additional complicating factors is inviting failure.
I was talking about Navy SEALS there, but it's even tougher when you take a group of folks who don't do this full time and start using them to do things like serve warrants to non-violent offenders you invite problems and there have been many. The need to justify the cost of a SWAT teams leads to overuse of under-trained teams and you get what that raid map shows, innocent people killed or hurt. That leads me to be somewhat sympathetic to complaints about this from libertarian groups like CATO or Reason.
But this Reason TV piece titled "Cops with Machine Guns" is just a complete pile of crap. They highlight a case where a guy runs away from cops who are questioning him about an ATM robbery, and then when they catch up to him again, he bails again. He ends up getting shot even though he is unarmed, but the cops never had a chance to establish that because he kept taking off. That is not a bright thing to do, and although his death is unfortunate, it was his own fault. Choosing this case to highlight in a piece on police militarization doesn't seem to make much sense, does it?
But that is not what they are all worked up about. Nope, they are up in arms because he was shot with a "machine gun". I know, I know it blew me away that the police were carrying a Ma Deuce .50 cal too. Those suckers weigh 84 pounds. Oh not a .50 cal? Well maybe it was an M-60, 'cuz we have all seen Rambo running around with one of those in First Blood. Nope, it was that notorious "machine gun" the H&K MP5, weapon of choice of the world's elite door-kicking teams for the past decades. The thing is that the MP5 is a freaking 9mm, an under-powered pistol round that the Marines have decided is too puny to even use in their side arm. Again the anti-gun fanatics have fixated on the appearance of the gun, not the facts of its operation. UPDATE: Added from my comments jousting with UP Additionally, would you rather take a round from a 9mm MP5 semi-auto, or a .40 cal semi-auto pistol or even a .38cal wheel gun? I will take that "machine gun" any time. End UPDATE
The MP5 is really just a semi-automatic pistol with a stock and a slightly longer barrel. It is no more a machine gun than a Humvee is an M1 tank. But don't let those pesky facts get in the way of your crusade against guns. We can just amend that 2nd Amendment to the right to carry muskets, but without bayonets, 'cuz those make the gun look too scary.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
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Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
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Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
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Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
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A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.